A fiery debate erupted from candidates for Illinois attorney general Tuesday as they faced off for the first time.
The first side-by-side comparison, which was held before the Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board, saw Sen. Kwame Raoul, Erika Harold and Bubba Harsy battle over everything from their stance on gay adoptions, ties to House Speaker Mike Madigan and the legalization of marijuana.
The debate centered largely on how Harold answered a question on gay adoptions nearly 20 years ago, when she ran for Miss Illinois.
“I said that I support same-sex couples to adopt and be able to be foster parents because I believe they would provide loving home and I believe no child should be in an abusive environment,” Harold said.
Harold also linked Raoul to Madigan, saying they both tried to raise property taxes.
“Trying to tie me to the speaker and trying to suggest that I have something to do with raising property taxes and property tax appeals, when I’ve never done a property appeals case in my life,” Raoul said.
Meanwhile, Libertarian candidate Harsy joined Raoul and Harold in saying they support the legalization of marijuana.
“We have bigger problems in Illinois going on right now than whether or not somebody smoke a plant that’s never killed anybody,” Harsy said.
The first debate comes on the heels of negative ads from both Raoul and Harold and as a new poll shows the contest is closer than the governor’s race.
The latest poll by the Illinois Broadcasters Association showed Raoul ahead of Harold by 11, with 20 percent undecided.
The group also acknowledged the controversy over Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and allegations of sexual misconduct.
“I think it’s very important that women have the opportunity to set forth information related to allegations like that,” Harold said. “I also think it’s very important that he have the opportunity to defend himself.”
Raoul added that the allegations are “worth looking into.”